The need to develop athleticism from a young age

The Central Nervous System pathway development is most essential for learning new movement patterns at different stages of learning and age. Addressing this issue through varied and specialised training module from a young age can help develop motor learning pathway.

practice is key: Repetition of competent motor patterns will help one achieve the perfect balance between timing, relative force, and sequence of moments for a specific skill and task.   -  Getty Images

Skill, fitness, talent, and ability in a good combination is a recipe for peak performance across all sports. Skill is important to participate or compete in the first place. Competence comes along with the skillset to be competitive.

To be successful in competition, an athlete needs to develop both mental and physical competence. Physical competence involves speed, strength, power, balance stability and so on.

On mental side, it involves planning, visualisation, preparation, mindfulness and so on.

When an athlete develops the wide spectrum of these varied attributes, he or she becomes a competitive and specialised athlete.

READ: Training domain: sport-specific or athlete-defined?

An important aspect of physical ability is gross motor skills. This can affect the ability to improve performance — to execute basic motor tasks in such a way that one can be considered competent and effective.

Skillset significantly increases the overall adeptness of the training process.

However, lack of proper physical attributes like strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility as well as lack of balance and stability can seriously affect the ability to learn new motor skills and execute them. This can potentially hinder the ability to take part in a sport at a competitive level.

Linear movement precedes rotational movements

The Central Nervous System pathway development is most essential for learning new movement patterns at different stages of learning and age. Addressing this issue through varied and specialised training module from a young age can help develop motor learning pathway.

The central nervous system will learn and adapt to new movements based on a trial and error method. Continuous successful endeavour will stimulate the development of a competent and specific motor pattern. Repetition of competent motor patterns will create effective motor pattern, ultimately helping one achieve the perfect balance between timing, relative force, and sequence of moments for a specific skill and task.

In order to promote a positive transfer, linear movements should be learned and mastered before any rotational component is added to the protocols. Linear displacement will create a situation of mechanical advantage, decreasing momentum and promoting economy of movement.

Deceleration before

acceleration

Once the proper control, timing and coordination needed to perform basic tasks such as sprinting, throwing, jumping, have been learnt and mastered in the three planes of motion, then force production and force absorption mechanism can be implemented.. The CNS needs to develop the proper level of synchronisation with the muscle-skeleton system (muscle recruitment, mostly based on voluntary effort but also neurological reflexes) to withstand gravity as an additional force to reckon with, which limits the ability to move and perform in space.

Neuro-muscular system needs to adapt and adopt to the force of gravity in storing and producing voluntary contraction through stored energy in stretch-shortening cycle.

Mastering stretch-shortening cycle in dampening mechanics of the movement and actively increasing the stored elastic energy in the muscle helps increase the power output. This is done through the motor neurons network. The athlete’s ability to decelerate or accelerate in a rotational and linear movement is a critical skillset needed in transfer of energy efficiently at any angle or plane of movement.

Power production before power transfer

Newton’s third law is a perfect example of power. Power is a combination of force and speed which acts on a human body (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction). Force in sports has various parameters. The power or force produced by an athlete and the other forces acting on the human body determine the movement pattern results. Before embarking on power transfer mode, an athlete needs to learn and manage two important attributes of power: strength and speed. Learning and implementing the above two parameters would help the athletes efficiently create movement pattern, be it linear or rotational, in combating the external forces acting on the joints. Proper periodised regime which is well planned with the base work done would translate from general to special and to sport-specific training transfer.

Run faster and further

Muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments will progressively improve as a consequence of a well-planned periodisation of the training load across the season. Strength, power, and endurance will create the functional work capacity needed to compete. Skills will improve the athlete’s exploitation capability, improving performance. These three basic principles will help to ease the transition between general and special strength training exercises, and from special strength training exercises to sport-specific training reinforcing positive transfer of training.

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